Farm Talk

Area Farm & Ranch News

October 13, 2009

Pecan Field Day held near Chetopa, Kan.

Pecan producers from the four-state area toured the Kansas State Pecan Experiment Field near Chetopa, Kansas recently.

Bill Reid, K-State Pecan Research and Extension Specialist, hosted the Pecan Field Day.

Beginning with a tour, growers climbed onto tractor pulled wagons and sat on straw bales for the trip around the experiment station. They looked at the various pecan groves and learned the latest about growing pecans.

“People will try to tell you they have the perfect variety,” said Reid. “I don’t recommend that you believe them.”

Reid went on to explain the multiple reasons that varieties which work for one grower, won’t necessarily work for another.

“Soil types, climate, disease severity and insect infestations all play a part in producing a crop,” he said. “Location can change everything.”

Growers in Georgia and New Mexico have tried varieties from the Kansas State University Experiment Station.

“The Kanza variety produces well here,” said Reid. “But in Georgia and New Mexico they cut the Kanza trees down.”

Looking first at a mature grove near the experiment station office, Reid showed beaver damage from the last flood.

“This is what beavers will do to a good pecan tree,” he said, showing how the pecan’s bark was eaten away completely around the trunk.

Growers also looked at scab disease damage.

“Here’s a good example,” said Reid as he held up a large pecan with dark discoloration from the disease effects.

“I wish I had known which varieties were scab resistant,” said Grower Irene Elmore from Chetopa. “I would have grafted on the better varieties.”

Elmore raises 30 acres of Hershey and other Pecan types.

“I have grafts onto native pecans,” she said. “The trees were already there so the rows aren’t straight, like the groves here.”

Many growers graft improved varieties onto Giles and Colby native varieties. These are the trees that Native American Indians would have eaten pecans from.

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